Our inner terrain has a balance of around 4-6 pounds or 2-3kg of live bacteria. This internal world is made up of a large array of microorganisms, which are vital to our health.
When the word bacteria is used in conjunction with food it gets a pretty bad rap since most of the time we are thinking up ways to get rid of the bad ones, like salmonella and E. Coli.
But the bacteria in probiotic foods are actually good for you. Friendly bacteria, probiotics and friendly flora all mean the same thing. They are what maintains the balance of health in our gut. If we don’t have sufficient friendly flora we are will have an overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria such as E. Coli and/or yeast and fungus such as candida.
The list of benefits provided by friendly bacteria are extensive:
- They lower cholesterol
- Create clearer, cleaner skin
- Control candida balance
- Enhance immunity
- Help detoxify harmful substances
A lack of friendly bacteria has been linked to infections, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, diarrhea, constipation and chronic malabsorption. Things to be avoided that harm the good guys include chlorinated water, drugs, fluoride and stress and of course the main one: antibiotics.
You can help to support healthy gut flora by supplementation with probiotics and the use of fermented foods to make sure the terrain is favourable to friendly bacteria.
Probiotics specifically for Dysbiosis are the best to start with as they are particularly targeted at fixing the imbalances and getting the proper ratios created.
Daily consumption of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, kimchee and natto can greatly improve the terrain for your friendly flora. I find it interesting that most cultures has some form of fermented food in their native diet. Natural yogurt and kefir are the most commonly known sources of some of the “good bugs” we require.
I read once that most people only have a small fraction of the amount of friendly bacteria required for health. The study showed (this is not and exact quote but will give you an idea of the significance) that if we require 4,ooo probiotics per sq cm most people have about 4 probiotics per sq cm. With all the things that can kill off the good bacteria this is no surprise.
“If someone is buying a probiotic,” says Bravin, “I’d say go for good-quality live yoghurts, consume them every day, and select those that contains several different species of bacteria. And ideally it should be something with a prebiotic as well.”
Let’s get our guts teaming with the good bugs and stay healthy!
To your Health Dr Deb the Detox Coach